Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort in the crosshairs of Dorian
The president has hosted the leaders of China and Japan at the complex in Palm Beach.
President Donald Trump’s prized Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida is potentially sitting directly in the path of Hurricane Dorian, which is forecast to become an extremely destructive storm.
The resort, which is currently closed for the summer, is on the wealthy barrier island of Palm Beach.
During the cooler months, Mr Trump visits the property frequently and has held several high-level meetings there with world leaders.
The National Hurricane Centre’s most recent track for Dorian places Mar-a-Lago in the crosshairs of a possible Category Four storm with winds of almost 140mph.
Hurricane Dorian looks like it will be hitting Florida late Sunday night. Be prepared and please follow State and Federal instructions, it will be a very big Hurricane, perhaps one of the biggest!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 29, 2019
Still, the resort dates from the 1920s and has seen more than its share of hurricanes in the past.
It was originally built by cereal heiress Marjorie Merriweather Post, with the main mansion containing 126 rooms.
Mr Trump bought the place in 1985, after efforts to make it into a national park did not work out.
Since he became president, Mr Trump has hosted leaders such as Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe and China’s Xi Jinping at the resort.
Hurricanes have always been a part of Mar-a-Lago.
In 2005, Mr Trump said he received a 17 million US dollar insurance payment for hurricane damage to the resort.
At the time, Mr Trump said he did not know how much had been spent on repairs, but acknowledged he pocketed some of the money.
He transferred funds into his personal accounts, saying that under the terms of his policy “you didn’t have to reinvest it”.
“Landscaping, roofing, walls, painting, leaks, artwork in the — you know, the great tapestries, tiles, Spanish tiles, the beach, the erosion,” he said of the storm damage.
“It’s still not what it was.”
Mr Trump is a climate change sceptic.
Meanwhile, local governments across Florida, including in Palm Beach County, are gearing up to deal with rising sea levels and possibly more intense hurricanes.
If sea-level rise predictions even at the lower end come true, Mar-a-Lago could have ocean water lapping on its lawns in the not-too-distant future.